Gruden's Making Excuses

Knock on wood if you're with him.

Jim Rome
September 26, 2019 - 12:08 pm
Jon Gruden and Antonio Brown

USA Today

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For some reason, Rex Ryan throwing around the phrase “overrated as hell” made me think of Jon Gruden. I’m not sure why. I just heard those words and immediately thought of Gruden’s return to Oakland, which even the most diehard member of the Black Hole would say hasn’t lived up to the hype.

But it didn’t feel that way in the season opener when the offense was clicking against the Broncos. And they were doing that without Antonio Brown. It seemed like the Raiders might be turning the corner and Gruden might possibly be starting to live up to that massive contract. 

And as Gruden pointed out when the Patriots signed Brown, the Raiders weren’t going to miss him because he hadn’t really been around much in the first place.

“We were good in the preseason without him. We’re going to be fine without him.”

That makes a lot of sense. It’s pretty hard to miss a guy who’d barely been there in the first place and when he was there, was threatening to punch co-workers. Allegedly.

Never mind that this was a guy who Gruden fought so hard to keep. He battled so hard to ignore all the issues and keep him around, to the point that he hung his GM out to dry after the threat of violence. And only got rid of him because he had no choice and absolutely had to get rid of him.

But when they won their first game without him, Gruden wanted everyone to know they were good without him in preseason and they’d be fine without them going forward. 

I bring that up because all of that was earlier this month, but it feels like a lifetime ago. 

Because the Raiders have lost their last two games by a combined score of 62-24. Worse yet, they jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Chiefs in Week 2, so that they’ve actually been oustscored 62-14 in the last seven quarters. 

For a head coach with a reputation as an offensive wizard, that’s not great. But don’t worry, Gruden has an explanation. It’s all Antonio Brown’s fault for leaving. 

"It's caused us a little bit of ... Rethinking. When you lose your starting 'Z,' who arguably is a great player, I don't think anyone's going to dispute that you have to replace him. And we're making an effort to move Tyrell [Williams] around; we're bringing on some younger guys. J.J. Nelson also got hurt; don't forget that. He was hurt. Dwayne Harris got hurt, so we've had some multiple things to deal with, and we're dealing with them."

When they won their first game and the offense looked okay? We’re good without Antonio Brown because he was never really here in the first place. 

When they’ve lost their last two games? We miss him! Don’t you people know how hard it is to replace someone like him? Oh, and don’t forget about the injuries. There have been a lot of injuries. 

That turned pretty quickly, didn’t it? A few weeks ago, they were great without Antonio Brown, now he wants everyone to know they don’t have Antonio Brown and some guys have gotten hurt. 

So to recap, the reason why the offense has been struggling the last two games is because a guy who didn’t play in the preseason wasn’t there. The guy you yourself said you didn’t miss after week one. And because there were some injuries. 

Way to really take ownership of the situation, Coach. That is an amazing pivot. 

And there’s more, because he also dropped in this line: "I'm not going to put it all on Derek.” That’s mighty big of you, Coach. Very stand up: way to take ownership of it as the guy leading from the back; and I’m sure Carr appreciates you running him under the bus, errrrr having his back.

Saying Khalil Mack didn’t want to be a Raider can’t believe how absurd a statement that is. “I’m not going to put it all on Derek” is pretty much saying, you all should put it all on Derek. 

Sure, I’m regarded as an offensive guru, the kind of person who should be able to scheme up things to have success, but I want everyone to know that I’m not blaming the quarterback for the offense’s struggles. 

I’m blaming it on a wide receiver who was barely with the team isn’t with the team and injuries. Don’t forget about the injuries. Just know this there’s a lot of really bad stuff going on right now.  And NONE of it is my fault. And never will be.

Whatever happened to the idea of success is shared and failure is the responsibility of the leader? Isn’t that a thing? That if the team doesn’t win, it’s on the coach to figure it out?

Turns out that’s not really the thing. Even better than sharing success and owning failure is owning success and sharing failure. And even better than that, is owning success and blaming failure on guys who aren’t there and guys who are injured. 

Just win, baby! And if you can’t do that, just blame others, make excuses and own nothing baby!

Come on, Chunk… It’s called accountability. Make sure we are clear on that, ok…. Knock on wood if you’re with me!